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Report Card: Student Perspective on U.S. Schools

America's students give their schools a B-. It's time to raise the grade.
June 24, 2023

The Walton Family Foundation partnered with Gallup to ask more than 2,000 students to grade their schools in 11 critical areas related to their educational experience. According to the students surveyed, U.S. schools are averaging just a 2.68 GPA across issue areas. No category received an A. Students felt schools were falling short in three critical areas: making them excited about learning, exposing them to potential career paths and supporting student mental health. See America’s full school report card below and read more about education innovators working to improve the grade.

America’s Student Report Card

The Gallup survey found that schools can do better when it comes to keeping students engaged, inspired and hopeful about the future. They want schools to step up and take unique, innovative approaches to match their student’s distinct needs. Luckily, there are innovative educators, community leaders and Gen Zers creating new solutions to address areas where schools aren’t making the grade today.

Student report card graphic

Excited About Learning

Not enough U.S. students feel excited to learn at school.

Read how Tony Weaver, founder of Weird Enough Productions, leverages captivating comics to enrich social-emotional learning, literacy and digital citizenship in the classroom.

Exposure to Different Ideas

Most students think their school does an okay job exposing them to diverse opinions.

Krasi Staykov is a driving force in Kentucky, advocating for the inclusion of diverse student voices across the entire education system. Read more about Krasi’s work with the Kentucky Student Voice team.

Teaching for Unique Learning Needs

Students think their schools can do more to support unique learning needs.

As a Gen Zer, Jacob Idra highlights the effectiveness of integrating students’ passions and purpose into the learning process. Read more about how Jacob is nurturing Gen Z creativity.

Quality of Teaching

Most students think their teachers are doing a good, or even great, job.

Jadyn Felming attributes her classroom success to the dedicated teachers who invested their time, attention and unwavering commitment to her growth. Read more from Jadyn on teacher representation and appreciation.

Keeping You Physically Safe

School safety is still a big concern for students. A student’s racial identity makes a big difference in how safe they feel at school.

In partnership with Murmuration, we discovered 82% of Gen Z considers putting an end to school shootings a critical issue in America.

Making You Feel Included

Students who feel more included have much higher grades than those who don’t.

In high school, Tricia Noyola was discouraged from attending college. Today she’s CEO of Rocky Mountain Prep. Read more from Tricia on the importance of building a foundation of love and respect for students in schools.

Teaching About Potential Careers

Students want their schools to provide more information on potential career pathways.

Javier Llanos, a graduate of and now teacher for the Collegiate Edu-Nation program, understands the crucial need for building education-to-career pathways. Read how these pathways are sparking opportunity for Javier and other rural students.

Preparing You for the Future

Students want more from their schools to prepare them for the future.

Delashay Lawrence recognizes that with the right educational foundation, one can chart their own unlimited future, no matter their circumstance or background. Read more from Delashay about overcoming generational adversity.

Using New Technology for Learning

Many schools are using technology to enhance student learning.

Read how Kentucky high school student Zachary Clifton is using ChatGPT as a tool to identify gaps in his understanding.

Supporting Your Mental Health

Students in the United States continue to face significant mental health challenges.

Read more from White Plains High School student Emiliano Juarez on his struggles with mental health and the importance of in-person learning.

Respecting Who You Are

In schools today, there is an urgent need for equitable treatment irrespective of race/ethnicity, gender and identity.

Through collaboration with classmates, Illinois student Zahir Mbengue championed a culture of inclusivity and mutual respect in his community. Read more from Zahir on how to be a changemaker in your school.